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April 17, 2011

Looking at one of my typical days is a bit disheartening. Not in the sense that I do not appreciate where I am, what I’ve overcome, my daily activities or such, but rather disheartened at how I accomplish obtaining knowledge. Specifically, I am talking about how I spend so much of my time trying to be “in the know,” and up to date on as much information as possible.

A typical day starts by grabbing for my Blackberry. It doesn’t matter if the alarm is going off or not, but in this day and age my Blackberry is my lifeline to what is occurring in the world.   I quickly glance through my e-mails, not necessarily reading them but rather searching for anything apart from the usual.   Typically my morning e-mails are the same; messages from the school or affiliated organizations, groups, or mailing lists that I am on.  All of these e-mails get little more than a cursory glance.

I finally get out of bed and go to the living room where I promptly turn on the television. I either turn on local news, CNN or The Today Show.  This need to be informed upon waking up is all in an attempt to be ready for the day, as though everything that happened between when I went to bed 7 hours ago until now will drastically affect the rest of my life.  Each morning I typically take in about 20 minutes of news until I realize that it is time to prepare for work or school.

After arriving at work, I pull up multiple sources for even more information.  My homepage is set to CNN and most of my bookmarks are all information related.  These include local news, regional news and national news.  After pursuing all of these sources; CNN, Yahoo, MSNBC, ESPN, Seattle News, San Diego News, Bellingham Washington News, TMZ, and such I come to the same realization that I do most days: why do I constantly spend so much time focusing on the world around me, but not the world within me?

My information obsession does not end with my morning news fix.  Throughout the day I am constantly refreshing my homepage waiting for a new story, waiting for something to change.  The minute I am idle I have my Blackberry in hand reading the news.  With live reports and information streaming instantaneously, the need to know is difficult to overcome. We have become accustomed to having information at our fingertips, everything accessible in an instant, and multiple sources to compare stories.  This need to know is almost like an addiction.

In the evening, I can’t help but watch the nightly news.  Often times I am caught commenting on how their story is “old news” and that nothing new has happened since that morning.  Regardless, at the end of the day the story is mostly going to be the same and 5 years from now when these stories are history, their impact will be known.  As such, I believe that as a society we should be “in the know” with our communities and “in the know” with what is pertinent to our lives.  Knowing everything happening around us or in the world, although helpful, is not as valuable as the time, resources and effort saved by overcoming this information obsession.